In Latest Twist in Philippine Politics, President to Run for Senate
Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, will run for Senate in next year’s elections, the secretary-general of Mr. Duterte’s political party said on Monday. The announcement was a reversal of Mr. Duterte’s previously stated plan to retire and came just days after Sara Duterte, his daughter, filed her papers to run for vice president.
Mr. Duterte entered the race just before the final filing deadline. On Saturday, his press secretary said that Mr. Duterte intended to run for vice president, against Ms. Duterte.
That political intrigue was another twist in the start of a competitive and unpredictable election, which will take place in May. More than 90 candidates have entered the race for president, including Manny Pacquiao, the former champion boxer, and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, a top aide to Mr. Duterte.
Ms. Duterte had been widely considered a presidential front-runner before Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of the former dictator, said on Saturday that she would back him as president and run on his ticket as vice president.
By staying in politics, Mr. Duterte could harness his network to try to protect himself from criminal charges. He is currently being investigated by the International Criminal Court for his bloody and heavily criticized war on drugs and has repeatedly said he would not allow I.C.C. investigators to enter the country.
Mr. Duterte is still widely popular in the Philippines, despite his penchant for vulgar outbursts and his brutal campaign against drugs. Many have credited him for starting social-welfare policies like universal health care, free college education and, during the pandemic, cash handouts.
But in August when Mr. Duterte first flirted with the idea of running for vice president, many Filipinos saw it as an overreach. The Philippine Constitution limits presidents to a single, six-year term. Social Weather Survey, a top public opinion research body, found that 60 percent of people polled said it would be unconstitutional for him to seek the V.P. spot.
Mr. Duterte later said he would retire after his current term came to an end.
When Mr. Duterte appeared to renew his interest in running for vice president on Saturday, it sent a shock wave throughout the country. But Harry Roque, the spokesman for Mr. Duterte, said on Monday that the president and his daughter “love each other.”
“They will never clash, they will never fight over any position,” Mr. Roque told reporters.
On Sunday, Ms. Duterte released a video on Facebook in which she said her decision to run for vice president would allow her to meet her supporters “halfway.”
“It’s a path that would allow me to heed your call to serve our country, and would make me a stronger person and public servant in the years that lie ahead,” she said.
Jason Gutierrez contributed reporting.